Here we are now, two months away from this year’s World Cup and it is clear that Australia is building up really well leading up to be able to defend the title.
It has taken Australia’s ODI squad seven series defeats since early 2017 series against New Zealand to finally find some winning form. The recent series win against India, who are ranked No. 2 in ODIs and also considered tournament favourites by many, shows that the current Australian ODI squad has what it takes to win the World Cup.
Australia looked the dominant team this series and despite India having experienced players in their team, the first two ODIs that Australia lost could’ve been anyone’s game.
Australia largely struggled to bat well during the middle overs in the past, losing clumps of wickets and failing to build big partnerships. This seems to have improved drastically as of late, with Usman Khawaja in supreme form opening the batting and Peter Handscomb playing well in the middle order.
During the India series, Australia’s top and middle order have done superbly to allow the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Turner to go hard towards the end. Australia’s batting order now looks very stable. The only point of concern for Australia heading into the World Cup is the form of skipper Aaron Finch.
However, his well-constructed innings of 93 against India in the third ODI may well help his cause of returning to form.
The next five matches against Pakistan in the UAE are another opportunity for him to get his form back ahead of the World Cup.
Additionally, Australia’s bowling unit is looking formidable. The bowlers have stood up and done their job every time. Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson have done a brilliant job with Adam Zampa in the form of his life, taking crucial wickets and breaking partnerships in the middle overs which has been key to Australia’s success against India.
Australia also have plenty of combinations for fast and spin bowling and it will be interesting to see which way they go for the World Cup.
Besides the winning form of the current ODI squad, these are some serious reasons why the inclusion of Steve Smith and David Warner could potentially disrupt the stability of the current team and could be the cause of Australia’s demise come World Cup time.
They have not played international cricket for a year and there’s no guarantee that they will play well.
Both of the players recently also had elbow surgeries, adding further doubt on their abilities.
Changes to a squad that is already doing well are going to disrupt the style of play.
Allowing Smith and Warner to come back and play the World Cup means we are not rewarding players who are doing well. Who do Australia drop from the current squad to fit these two players?
Is it fair for Smith and Warner to walk right back into the team and those who are doing well currently be dropped, without knowing if Smith and Warner are as good as they were a year ago?
There’s never really a good reason to change a winning team.
The hostile nature of English fans will play in the minds of Warner and Smith, which could also affect the rest of the players in the squad.
Whilst there’s no denying Smith and Warner were two of our best players a year ago, things have changed and they have not played international cricket for a year. Smith and Warner simply will not have enough game time before the World Cup.
Unless they both absolutely blaze the IPL on fire, Australia is better off without these two players if we’re to win the World Cup.